Grumman F-14 Tomcat

Aircraft Profile

Key Facts

Main Role:
Naval Multi Role Fighter
Variable-geometry jet
United States
Current Status:
Out of Service, Out of Production

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F-14B AA/103 of VF-103 launches from the waist
catapult of USS George Washington in 2002.
(photo, US Navy)


Triggered by the failure of the F-111B to meet Navy requirements, the VFX project was announced. On the 15th January 1969, Grumman was announced as competition winner for a new carrier-based fighter for the U.S. Navy. Emphasis had been placed on producing a comparatively small, light weight, high performance aircraft with a significant advance over the then current F-4 Phantom II. The primary mission was three fold; The first was as a fighter / Escort to clear contested air space of enemy fighters and protecting the strike force. The second mission was to defend the carrier task force with Combat Air Patrols (CAP) and interception operations. The third role was secondary attack on tactical ground targets.

The person responsible for the F-14 project was Admiral Tom Conolly, Deputy Chief, Naval Operations for Air. The aircraft was dubbed “Tom’s Cat” long before it was officially named “Tomcat”. (Naming their aircraft after ‘cats’ is a long held Grumman tradition of course).

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat is a supersonic, twin engined, variable sweep wing, two-place strike fighter. The aircraft has visual and all-weather attack capability. It can deliver both Phoenix and Sparrow missiles; it has an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon and Sidewinder missiles for air-to-air combat. The F-14 also has the LANTIRN m Targeting system that allows a variety of laser-guided bombs to be delivered for precision air-to-ground strikes. Tomcats equipped with Tactical Air Reconnaissance Pod System (TARPS) are the U.S. Navy’s only manned tactical reconnaissance aircraft.

The first operational ‘Tomcat’ squadrons with the U.S. Navy were VF-1 and VF-2. VF-2 flew the first operational sorties from the U.S.S. Enterprise in March 1974.

Although the F-14 had an excellent airframe and equipment the ‘A’ version had problems with the TF30 engines. These were hard to maintain, and lacked the power needed to maneuver the aircraft properly. They were also prone to severe failure where compressor blades would break off and damage the rest of the engine. Modifications were made and steel cages were fitted to prevent broken blades from destroying the entire engine. The modifications were only a temporary solution and, in 1984, the General Electric F110-GE-400 engines were selected to replace the TF series engines.

The F-14D, delivered in 1990, was a major upgrade with the F110 engines, new APG-71 radar system, Airborne Self-Protection Jammer (ASPJ). Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS) and Infrared Search and Track (IRST).

F-14D ‘1’ of VX-9 heads back to NAS Key West
in 2002. (photo, US Navy)
F-14B AA/103 of VF-103 flies over the Croatian coastline in 2002. (photo, US Navy)


Requirement Specification: ?
Manufacturers Designation: Model G-303

Development History:
F-14A Twelve development aircaft with Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412 Engines.
F-14A Initial production variant with Pratt & Whitney TF30-P-412 Engines. (TF30-P-414A engines later retrofitted).
F-14B One development aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney F401-PW-P400 engines, 1973-74.
F-14B Super Tomcat The above development aircraft fitted with General Electric F101DFE engines.
F-14A+ Interim designation for F110-GE-400 powered F-14B production version.
F-14B Upgraded production version with F110-GE-400 engines and new electronics and radios.
F-14C Same as F-14B but with ground attack capability added. This type was abandoned in favor of buying more A-6 Intruders.
F-14D Two F-14A development aircraft fitted with F110-GE-400 engines and prototype digital avionics.
F-14D Production version with digital avionics using the dual AKY-14 standard airborne computer which connects all avionics digitally.
F/A-14D Proposal to install AN/ALE-50 towed decoy and terrain following avionics.
F-14T & F-14X Two versions proposed during the 1970’s to reduce costs. The proposal was scrapped on a suggestion from Israel that the USN should have the best aircraft possible.
F-14 Quick Strike This programme was cut due to the success of the ‘Super Hornet’.
Tomcat 21 and Attack Tomcat 21 Externally these would have the surface areas increased to accommodate more fuel and a “no wind carrier take off” capability.
F-14A NF/113 of VF-154 just after launch in
2002. (photo, US Navy)
F-14A NF/106 of VF-154 catapults from the USS
Kitty Hawk in 2003. (photo, US Navy)


Key Dates:
15th January 1969    Grumman selected as design winner for a new carrier-based fighter for the U.S. Navy.
21 December 1970    Maiden flight of first aircraft.
June 1972    Development carrier trials started.
October 1972    Initial deliveries to the US Navy.
March 1974    VF-2 flew the first operational sorties from USS Enterprise.
1973-1974    Original F-14B flight test programme with F401-PW-400 engines.
July / September 1981    Flight test programme with General Electric F110-GE-400 engines.
1987    New F-14D version ordered.
9 February 1990    Maiden flight of first new-build F-14D.
November 1990    First F-14D delivered.
March 1993    Last F-14A upgraded to F-14D delivered.
1995    Upgrade to new digital avionics and improvements to strengthen multi-role mission.
F-14D NE/105 of VF-2 lands on the USS
Constellation in 2003. (photo, US Navy)
F-14B AC/105 of VF-32 takes off from the
USS Harry S Truman (photo, US Navy)


Military Operators

U.S. Navy (183 aircraft left of 712 built). Active squadrons include:
VF-2, VF-11, VF-14, VF-31, VF-32, VF-41, VF-101, VF-103, VF-143, VF-154, VF-201, VF-211.
Iran (IRIAF) (79 aircraft out of 80 ordered before the Islamic revolution).

Government Agencies


Civilian Operators

F-14B AA/103 of VF-103 from the USS John F
Kennedy over Iraq in 2004. (photo, US Navy)
F-14Bs 110 & 112 of VF-103 over the
Mediterranean in 2002. (photo, US Navy)


Grumman F-14A Tomcat
Crew: Pilot and Radar Intercept Officer (RIO).
Dimensions: Length 62 ft 8 in (19.10 m); Height 16ft 0 in (4.88 m); Wing Span unswept 64 ft 1.5 in (19.54 m), swept 38 ft 2.5 in (11.65 m); Wing Area 565 sq ft (52.49 sq m)
Engines: (F-41A) Two Pratt & Whitney TF-30P-414A turbofans of 20,900 lb. (9,405 kg) st. each; (F-14B & D) Two General Electric F110-GR-400 turbofans of 27,000 lb. (12,150 kg) st each
Weights: Empty Equipped 40,104 lb (18,191 kg); Normal Take-off ‘clean’ 58,715 lb (26,632 kg); Maximum Take-off 74,349 lb (33,724 kg)
Armament: Up to 14,500 lb (6577 kg) including AIM-54 Phoenix missiles, AIM-7 Sparrow missiles, AIM-9 Sidewinder missiles, air-to-ground precision ordnance and one M61A1/A2 Vulcan cannon.
Performance: Maximum level speed ‘clean’ 1,342 kts (1,544 mph, 2485 kph) at high altitude, 792 kts (912 mph, 1468 kph) at low altitude; Cruising speed 400-550 kts (460-633 mph, 741-1019 kph); Maximum rate of climb at sea level 30,000+ ft/min (9145+ m/min); Service ceiling 50,000+ ft (15,240+ m); Combat Air Patrol radius 665 nm (766 miles, 1,233 km); Ferry range with external fuel tanks 1,735 nm (2,000 mls, 3,220 km)
F-14B AG/205 of VF-11 makes a high speed
pass at NAS Oceana in 2004. (photo, US Navy)
F-14D AD/161 of VF-101 climbs away at
NAS Oceana in 2004. (photo, US Navy)


Design Centre

Head of Design Team: Not known
Design Office: Grumman Aerospace Corporation, Bethpage, New York (originally)


Grumman Corporation
(1111 Stewart Avenue, Bethpage, NY 11714, USA. Later Northrop Grumman)
Version Quantity Assembly Location Time Period
F-14A 556 Bethpage, NY 1969-198?
F-14A for Iran 80 Bethpage, NY 197?-197?
F-14B (prodn.) 38 Bethpage, NY 1987-198?
F-14B (F-14A+) 32 rebuilds Bethpage, NY 198?-198?
F-14D proto. 2 conv. Bethpage, NY 1987-1988
F-14D (new) 37 Bethpage, NY 1989-1991
F-14D (conv) 18 rebuilds Bethpage, NY 1991-March 1993
Total: 711    

Total Produced: 711 a/c

Production List

Grumman F-14 Tomcat

F-14B AB/105 of VF-102 over the USS
George Washington in 1997. (photo, US Navy)
F-14D AD/160 of VF-101 painted in retro
1970’s-era markings in 2005. (photo, US Navy)

More Information


‘Jane’s At The Controls: How To Fly And Fight In The F-14 Tomcat’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David L Rockwell
Published by Collins, 7 June 1999 ISBN: 0 0047 2254 X
* Puts the reader in the pilot’s seat of an F-14.

‘Grumman F-14 Tomcat – Leading US Navy Fleet Fighter’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Dennis R Jenkins
Published by Aerofax, 19 June 1997 ISBN: 1 8578 0063 X
* Detailed development and service history.

‘F-14 Tomcat’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tony Holmes
Published by Osprey, 25 April 1991 ISBN: 1 85532 1262
* Collection of 120 colour photos of the F-14 in action.

‘Grumman F-14 Tomcat: Shipborne Superfighter’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Jon Lake
Published by AIRtime Publishing, May 1998 ISBN: 1 8805 8813 7
* Ultra detailed coverage, in the style of World Air Power Journal.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 7’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Oct 1991 ISBN: 1 8740 2313 1
* Includes 58 page ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-14 Tomcat.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 19’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Nov 1994 ISBN: 1 8740 2347 6
* Includes Part 1 of ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the F-14 Tomcat.

‘World Air Power Journal, Volume 20’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Jan 1995 ISBN: 1 8740 2349 2
* Includes Part 2 of ‘Variant Briefing’ feature on the F-14 Tomcat.

‘International Air Power Review, Volume 3’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
Published by AIRtime Publishing, 2001 ISBN: 1 880588 36 6
* Includes 34 page ‘Focus Aircraft’ feature on the F-14 Tomcat.

‘F-14 Tomcat Walkaround’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Lou Drendel
Published by Squadron/Signal, April 1995 ISBN: 0 8974 7337 X
* Close-up photos of F-14 external and internal details.

‘Tomcat Alley’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by David F Brown
Published by Schiffer, 1998 ISBN: 0 7643 0477 1
* Photographic roll-call of all F-14s built, in many different markings.

‘Tomcat!’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Paul T Gillcrist
Published by Schiffer Publishing, Nov 1994 ISBN: 0 8874 0664 5
* Anecdotal history of the F-14 by former US Navy fighter pilot.

‘Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat – Osprey Combat Aircraft 49’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tom Cooper and Farzad Bishop
Published by Osprey, 23 Sept 2004 ISBN: 1841767875
* Looks at the F-14’s Iranian combat history and includes first hand accounts from the pilots themselves.

‘F-14 Tomcat Units of Operation Iraqi Freedom – Osprey Combat Aircraft 52’ [Order this book from Amazon UK]
by Tony Holmes
Published by Osprey, 10 April 2005 (NYP) ISBN: 1841768030
* Looks at the F-14s air-to-ground missions during OIF, including first hand accounts.



F-14 Tomcat
(Detailed profile by – variants, systems, specs etc)

F-14 Tomcat Pictures
(7 US Navy F-14 photos)

F-14 Tomcat
(Description, spec, photo gallery)

AXLs Plane Gallery
(77 photos of F-14s)

Global Aircraft – F-14 Tomcat
(Spec, achievements, features, background, photos)

F-14 Tomcat
(US Navy Fact File: short description and spec)

F-14 Tomcat
(Description, variants, upgrades, spec, photos, links)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(Info, armament, videos, photos, links)

The F-14 Tomcat Mainpage
(Large photos, tech data, photo galley, links, background history)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(Weapons, history, events, sqns, variants, links, photos)

Tomcat Alley
(F-14 Tomcat variants, losses, sqns, pics, kits, links)

Home of M.A.T.S.
(F-14 history, specs, serials, walkaround, sqns, photos, books, memorabilia)

F-14 Tomcat
(Air Force Technology: description of the technology in the F-14 + some photos)

The F-14 Tomcat Association
(F-14 history, squadrons, stories, gallery, museum aircraft etc)

F-14 Tomcat
(Northrop Grumman official info & photo gallery)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
( description, specs, variants, sources)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(Index page for detailed profile of the F-14)

F-14 Tomcat Photo Collection
(Photos from NASA Dryden Flight Research Center of F-14 flight testing)

Naval Aircraft: F-14 Tomcat
(2 pages of F-14 photos)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(Colour profile, spec, 3-view, a few photos)

F-14 Tomcat
(Lots of good close-up and detail photos of F-14s)

Grumman F-14A Tomcat
(Details of F-14s displayed in US aviation museums)

Tomcat Gallery
(22 US Navy photos)

F-14 Tomcat with USN
(ACIG Database: 4-part collection of F-14 colour profile drawings)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(VF-11 info, Tomcat info & pics including colour profile drawings)

The Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(Good profile of the F-14: history, variants, service use etc)
(12 pages of F-14 photos)

Grumman F-14 Tomcat
(One page of F-14 photos)

F-14 Tomcat
(Four superb F-14 photos)

Last of the Grumman Cats: The F-14 Tomcat
(Six colour profile drawings of F-14 markings from the 1970s)

Tomcatter’s Association
(VF-31 information including F-14 photos)

(List of F-14 photos on official DoD public relations website)

Aircraft Photo Gallery – F-14
(Spec and some good US Navy photos)

Tomcat Tales
(Illustrated short feature on an aspect of the development of the F-14 Tomcat)

(16 pages of excellent F-14 photos)

Terrific Tomcat Photo Page
(Lots of photos of US Tomcats – arranged by unit/operator – but lots of broken links also)

(Good collection of F-14 photos)


Flight Simulator Models:
To be added.

Scale Models:
To be added.

Scale Drawings:
‘The F-14A & B Tomcat In Detail & Scale (Su-22 Killer) – Detail & Scale 9’
by Bert Kinzey
Published by Aero Publishers Inc, USA, 1983 ISBN: 0 85368 5118
* Close-up photos, scale drawings and modelling information.


‘Great Planes Series V.7 – F-14 Tomcat’
* No further information.

‘F-14 Tomcat – Mig Killer’
* No further information.

‘Sea Wings – The Tomcat’ [Order this video from Amazon UK]
DD Video, 20 May 1996, Catalogue Number: DD1223
* 50 minute documentary on the US Navy F-14.

‘F-14 Tomcat – One of a Kind’
* No further information.

‘Modern Military Aircraft – F-14 Tomcat’ [Order this DVD from Amazon UK]
Artsmagic Ltd, 21 July 2003, Catalogue Number: –
* 60 minute documentary on the F-14.

‘F-14 Tomcat – Any Time Baby’
* No further information.

2 thoughts on “Grumman F-14 Tomcat

  1. Hello,
    I am trying to locate photos of the first landing of a Tomcat on the deck of the Enterprise, can anyone help me? Thank you in advance.
    Regards Larry Hayes

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